Homestead brings in 22-foot Christmas tree as visitors look on

The process has become a spectacle at the resort

BATH COUNTY, Va. – One of the holiday traditions in Bath County played out in front of dozens of onlookers on Monday, the process of squeezing a massive Christmas tree through the doors at the Omni Homestead Resort.

"We really take a very large tree and squeeze it through a small space, so it's a big question every year, is the tree actually going to fit?” said John Hess, the resort’s director of sales and marketing.

It did fit. Staff members used a forklift, ropes and some old-fashioned manpower to set the 22-foot-tall Fraser fir into place in the foyer, as visitors and guests applauded.

"The holiday traditions here at the Homestead are a longstanding tradition and we have guests that come from all over the country to experience it,” Hess said.

Among those watching was the Stiles family, who traveled from Georgia.

“To add this to our family tradition, to see the tree come up every year, it’s kind of special. You can turn your crazy life and just kind of enjoy this for a few days,” Rob Stiles said.

His family has been coming to see the set up for the last six years.

“To see them drive it in and pull it in, it’s absolutely cool for me and him,” said Stiles’s 9-year-old son, Tripp, about himself and his 6-year-old brother.

For the staff, it’s all about embracing the holiday spirit. A thousand feet of garland covers columns along the lobby and the staff is still working on a 15-foot-tall gingerbread house, the largest one the resort has ever made. It will recreate the Homestead tower using 3,000 bricks.

The lobby will be packed again for a tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The resort encourages the public to come to see the tree, which will be up through New Year’s Day.

This year’s Fraser fir was planted in 1994 in Avery County, North Carolina.